11 June 2021 until 9 January 2022
An Exhibition and Survey

With Heimaten. Questions on Home and Belonging, the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (MK&G) is turning its attention to an extremely controversial topic. The German word Heimat can mean both home and homeland. Few terms are as emotionally charged, as susceptible to political and commercial exploitation, as sentimentally loaded and subjective. There is no one definition of Heimat that everyone can agree on. But this is not the only reason why the title Heimaten was chosen, a plural form that is still unfamiliar in everyday usage but urgently needed. Based on this assumption, the exhibition Heimaten is fundamentally conceived as open, participatory and multi-layered. The curatorial team deliberately avoids providing any easy answers as to what Heimaten are or could be. Instead, questions are posed to the visitors, grouped around seven central themes that structure the show. Each of the approximately 150 exhibits – ranging from antique ceramics to a computer game – is assigned to one of the seven main questions and serves as food for thought and a topic of discussion meant to help the public answer more finely differentiated questions on that theme. Visitors are asked to enter their answers in their smartphones. Using a module specially developed for the exhibition by the Dutch design studio commonplace, the answers are then directly projected onto the walls and thus become part of the show. The definition of what is or may be considered a Heimat underlies a constant process of renegotiation, a fact that is underscored by the inclusion in the show of pedestals and display cases that initially remain empty. Over the course of the exhibition, they will be filled with the results of performative projects. In joint actions, the public and selected participants are invited to bring the diversity of society into the museum. The exhibition Heimaten, like the term itself, will thus remain in a constant state of flux.

The exhibition has been made possible by funds from the Exhibition Fund of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, the Körber Foundation and the Hubertus Wald Foundation.

Image: mischer'traxler studio, Nocturnal Cloud, 2020, Foto: Leonard Hilzensauer (Detail)